Trains captivate kids and adults alike as they rumble down the tracks. The way they roll, chug, and puff along is so fascinating for children. We have quite a few train-lovers in my family, so we’re always on the lookout for fun ways to find locomotives big and small! This list has destinations and events across Chicagoland and beyond that celebrate all things related to railroads.
Local Places and Events For Kids Who Love Trains
Berwyn’s Toy Trains and Models
7025 Ogden Avenue
Berwyn, IL 60402
This shop stocks Chicagoland’s largest collections of model railroading products, specializing in Lionel O Gauge electric trains, but also carries Thomas trains and tons of other toys.
The Great Train Story at the Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry
5700 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
Model railroad with more than 20 trains running on 1,400 feet of track, completing the winding journey between Chicago and Seattle. This exhibit is also near the aviation exhibits for more transportation exploration. For extra credit, take the Metra downtown, then hop on a CTA bus to the Museum Campus stop!
Oakridge Hobby and Toy Store
15800 New Avenue
Lemont, IL 60439
A great store with countless trains to see and explore. The store is located near the train station in downtown Lemont.
Thomas Ford Library
800 Chestnut Street
Western Springs, IL 60558
Thomas Ford has a train in the hallway leading to the children’s area downstairs. Although it doesn’t move, train lovers will enjoy exploring and reading books in the train cars.
DuPage County Historical Museum
102 E. Wesley Street
Wheaton, IL 60187
Running every third and fifth Saturday, DuPage County Historical Society welcomes guests to see 2,000 feet of track covering DuPage County landmarks.
Lego Train Show
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
December 10 and 11, 2022
Great Midwest Train Show
DuPage County Fairgrounds
2015 Manchester Road
Wheaton, IL 60187
The world’s largest monthly model train show featuring operating model train displays, LEGO layout and HO layout for the kids to operate. Running the first Sunday of every month.
This annual event is full of large displays with moving Lego trains. It’s free to visit with the $5 parking fee at Cantigny.
Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm
17250 S Weber Road
Crest Hill, IL 60403
Ride the train during Pumpkin Fest from the end of September through Halloween each year.
Train Exhibits That Are Worth the Drive
While these locations aren’t technically in the western suburbs, they’re great stops for train lovers!
Illinois Railway Museum
7000 Olson Road
Union, IL 60180
Their very popular Day Out with Thomas events are held during the summer, but there’s fun to be had here all year round, including their Pumpkin and Happy Holiday Railway Santa Trains. Check their events tab for info on their family-friendly events.
450 W 100 N
Valparaiso, IN 46385
Their outdoor g-gauge model train garden tells an American history story. Trains only run from 10:00am – 3:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, now through October 31, and are weather-dependent; they encourage calling ahead if the weather looks iffy.
Other Ways to Extend the Train-Filled Fun
- Get your food delivered in a train car while you enjoy your train-themed surroundings at these Train Restaurants.
- Hop on the Metra! What’s more exciting than actually being on the train? We’ve rounded up Kid-Friendly Stops Along the BNSF for all your planning needs. Kids 6 and younger ride free; remember to download the Ventra app and buy your tickets ahead of time to make travel a snap.
- Polar Express Rides are offered in December, but registration starts early. Our Polar Express and Holiday Train Rides list has all the details for 2022!
- Head to Blackberry Farm in Aurora or Pirate’s Cove in Elk Grove Village for small train rides for young kids. There’s so much to explore at both destinations, and with unlimited rides on the little train, kids will have a blast.
- There are play trains in the sandboxes at Maryknoll Park in Glen Ellyn and Sunnyside Park in Wheaton.
- Make a train from cardboard boxes at home with Annie’s instructions.
Did we miss your favorite spot to see trains? Let us know in the comments below!
Downtown Downer’s Grove also has a very nice toy store at the corner of Main and Curtis, less than 2 blocks from the train station.